Adjust master volume

You can adjust the overall volume of a project using the master volume slider. The master volume controls what the volume will be when you export the project. Use your computer’s volume control to adjust the volume at which you listen to the project play.

In general, you should adjust the output volume to a level high enough to eliminate background noise, but not high enough to cause clipping. You can check for clipping by watching the clipping indicators in the master level meter.

You can also make changes to the master volume level over time by editing the Master Volume automation curve. When the Master Volume automation curve is active, you can’t adjust the master volume slider.

To adjust the master volume slider:

In the control bar, drag the master volume slider left (to lower the output volume) or right (to raise the output volume).

Master volume & meters

Option-click the slider to return it to a neutral value (0 dB gain).

To check for clipping:

As the project plays, watch the master level meter located above the master volume slider. The small red dots at the right of the level meter (called clipping indicators) light whenever the volume level is too high, producing distortion or “clipping” in the exported project.

If the clipping indicators light, see “Prevent clipping” for information about how to eliminate clipping.

To edit the Master Volume automation curve:

  1. Choose Track > Show Master Track.
  2. Choose Master Volume from the menu in the master track header.
    Master track
  3. Add control points to the master volume curve at the places where you want to change the overall volume of the project.
  4. Move the control points up or down to adjust the depth (intensity) of the volume changes.

Prevent clipping

Recording sound at too high a volume level can result in distortion, or “clipping.” You hear clipping as a sharp, crackling sound, which is undesirable in most cases. In a GarageBand project, clipping can occur in one of two situations:

  • When you record a Real Instrument or electric guitar with the track volume level set too high
  • When you export a project with the master volume level set too high

When the red dots to the right of the level meter, called “clipping indicators,” light up, the track or overall project is clipping at some point. After you identify where clipping occurs, you can try removing it in any of the following ways. Different situations require different solutions, depending on what is causing the distortion.

To prevent clipping on a Real Instrument or Electric Guitar track:

In the Track Info pane, do any of the following:

  • Choose On from the Monitor menu before recording.
  • Select the Automatic Level Control checkbox before playing or recording.
  • Lower the output level of the audio interface or other audio device connected to the track.
  • If you are recording with a microphone, move the microphone farther away to lower its output level.

To prevent clipping in the overall project:

  • Drag the master volume slider to the left.
    Master track
  • Add a volume curve to the master track, then add control points at the place where distortion occurs to lower the volume level.
    Master track
  • If the project includes any master effects, lower the level of the effects at the place where distortion occurs.
  • If there are several regions at the place where distortion occurs, delete or mute some of them.
  • Rerecord regions at the place where distortion occurs so that they are lower in volume or intensity.

Input source

To hear sound from a microphone, an electric guitar, or another instrument in GarageBand, you must set the input source for the device (the microphone or instrument). You can set the input source when you add a track, or set it for the selected track in the Track Info pane.

Add Track button
  • If you are using your computer’s built-in microphone, choose Built-in Microphone from the Input Source pop-up menu.
  • If you are using a device connected to your computer’s audio input port, choose Built-in Input from the Input Source pop-up menu.
  • If you are using a device connected to a USB port on your computer, choose the name of the device from the Input Source pop-up menu.
  • If you are using a device connected to an audio interface, choose the channel number for the microphone from the Input Source pop-up menu.

Make sure the format matches the device. If the device has stereo output, choose a Stereo pair of channels; otherwise, choose a Mono (monophonic) channel.

If the device does not appear in the Input Source menu, choose GarageBand > Preferences, click Audio/MIDI, then choose the device from the Audio Input pop-up menu.

Monitoring

When you turn on monitoring for a track, you hear the instrument or microphone connected to the track’s input while you play and record in GarageBand. In some situations, particularly when using your computer’s speakers instead of headphones, you may want to turn monitoring off to avoid feedback.

You can turn monitoring on or off in the New Track dialog when you add a new track, or in the Track Info pane for the selected track. You can also turn monitoring on or off using the Monitor buttons in Electric Guitar and Real Instrument tracks.

Track Info-Real Instrument

In the Track Info pane:

  • Choose On to turn on monitoring and protect against feedback. If feedback occurs, an alert appears, asking if you want to turn monitoring on or off.
  • Choose On (no feedback protection) to turn on monitoring without feedback protection. If the input level is too high, it may cause feedback (especially if you are using a microphone and listening to your project through your computer speakers).
  • Choose Off to turn off monitoring. You can hear your instrument only while you record.

Record your voice

You can record your voice using your computer’s built-in microphone, or by connecting a microphone to your computer. You record your voice in a Real Instrument track in the GarageBand timeline.

Record your voice

  1. If you are using an external microphone, connect the microphone to the audio input port or USB port on your computer, or to an audio interface connected to your computer.
  2. Click the Add Track button (with a “+”) in the lower-left part of the GarageBand window.
    Mentor video + modes

    The Add Track Dialog appears, with an icon for each track type.

  3. In the Add Track dialog, select Real Instrument.
    Mentor video + modes
  4. Click the disclosure triangle next to Instrument Setup.
  5. Choose the input source from the upper-left pop-up menu.
    • If you are using the microphone built into your computer, choose Built-in Microphone.
    • If you are using a microphone connected to your computer’s audio input port, choose Built-in Input.
    • If you are using a microphone connected to a USB port, choose the name of the microphone.
    • If you are using a microphone connected to an audio interface, choose the channel the microphone is connected to.
  6. Under “I hear sound from,” choose the audio output you want to use to hear the sound from the microphone.
  7. To turn on monitoring for the track, select the “I want to hear my Instrument as I play and record” checkbox.
  8. Click Create.

    The new track appears selected in the timeline.

  9. To start recording, click the red Record button in the control bar.
    Mentor video + modes

    The playhead moves across the timeline, and a new, red region with the recording appears in the selected track.

  10. When you’re finished, click the Play (>) button in the control bar to stop recording.
    Mentor video + modes









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